Sunday, April 11, 2010

Metamorphosis, Eastern Tent Caterpillars

Do you recognize this?  In general, it's considered a pest. 

However, to my sweet 5 year old little boy it is a wonderful caterpillar and they are his new "pets".  Its real identity is an eastern tent caterpillar.  They fall from the trees in mass this time of year here.  Little J collected 9 caterpillars and put them in his Kritter Keeper along with some host tree leaves and twigs.  We spritzed a little water on the leaves and closed the top.  Soon they will form a cocoon and will be in them for about 3 weeks.  They will emerge as a small reddish brown moth that we will release to finish their lives outside.  We did this last year and it is an amazing process to watch. 

You can find these Kritter Keepers for about $6 at local pet shops.  We have a couple that Little J uses for catch and release.  Usually it's some insect, lizard, or worm that he has found and would like to watch for a short bit.

We did some research on line this year and Little J has made a life cycle chart of the Eastern Tent Caterpillar.  He has also put together a journal so he can log what is happening each day.  Here is a link we found that tells more about them.



Ticia said...

Why haven't I ever thought about using a cage like that? Of course luckily my kids haven't tried yet to bring animals inside.

Ticia said...

oh, and there's something wrong with the blog hop code this week.
But, in general how you do it is go down underneath where you linked and you click on "get code" from there you go back to your post and copy it into the bottom of your post. I'm going to explore more to see what's up with the blog hop code, they did say they were having technical difficulties this weekend with switching things around.

Amanda said...

Oh my.... I was just about to go research what type of catapiller Ansley's new pets are....we now have 3 of them in her catapiller home...and violia.... you have the info right here. Awsome. Ansley is calling them her "new pets" too LOL.